A Deputy Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah is hopeful Ghanaians will rally behind any plans put in place by government to raise more revenue in order to fund its projects.
With just a few days until the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta presents the midyear budget review in Parliament, there are suggestions that government might increase the VAT rate from 17.5% to 21%.
Some individuals, including former President John Dramani Mahama, have raised concerns over the rumoured increment, arguing that the new taxes would cripple businesses further and also defeat President Nana Addo’s much-touted mantra of “from taxation to production.”
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah on Accra based CITI FM, however, disagreed with this assertion, arguing that government had done enough with the nation’s resources so far to warrant the buy-in of Ghanaians.
“Indeed in the past if anybody said he was unwilling to pay more because profligate expenditure, corruption and waste was abounding, that person may have grounds to make an argument but since President Akufo-Addo became President of the Republic of Ghana, you will recall that he has done a number of things to demonstrate that the little that has come to the national kitty, he has put into judicious use…
“Moving forward, if it becomes necessary, and it is becoming necessary that we raise more revenue to ensure that we complete what remains of the agenda, I think it is an argument that the people of Ghana, as adduced from evidence, will rally behind when it is eventually rolled out.”
Tax Analyst with Ali Nakyea and Associates, William Demitia has warned that any attempt to increase VAT and the NHIL could lead to an increment of prices of basic amenities.
According to him, NHIL and VAT are consumption-based taxes that affect almost all items sold in the market.
He explained further that “unless government says that the supply of water is exempt from VAT, then we are going to pay more for even water”..
But CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Yofi Grant has urged Ghanaians to embrace any increase in taxes since government will provide social interventions to cushion them .
“Everybody needs to pay tax, we should get that mindset. The lower the tax, the happier we are but there is a bigger structural anomaly in that which is that there is a small proportion of the business population paying the larger proportion of the tax,” he explained.